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   RE: [xml-dev] Re: Why is there little usage of XML on the 'visible Web'?

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On 7/20/06, Bullard, Claude L (Len) <len.bullard@intergraph.com> wrote:
> Dead wrong.  The use of X3D/VRML is growing nicely.
> len

>Maybe. But for 10+ years whas dead.  

Nope.  For ten years it was being used and a new VRML 3.0 was being
developed.  Clay Shirky was dead wrong too.

The problem for the pundits was believing it had to be as pervasively
authored as basic HTML. That won't happen.  Even static 3D takes more
skill and real time 3D is a quantum jump in complexity and skills and
particulary practiced chops.

>And the support is still limited.

But growing.

>For my Firefox(1.5 linux) browser seem theres no plugin.

See http://www.bitmanagement.de/developer/contact/relnotes70.html

>Vendors use Macromedia Flash to sell cars:


Scroll down to see the image.  It is fun to play with that.  OTOH, a
parameterizable model is not much of a challenge for any 3D application.

>And I dont like much how VRML render landscapes:

That's just a bad landscape.  I've seen some very good landscapes but if
the author is not sharp, they look bad for sure.  There are some
phenomenal landscapes in some of the membership-only worlds.

>Heres how I render landscapes (not my code, trough)



Very nice.

>I kinda hope one of these guys will succeed, but on the other hand, I'd
like to see this sort of thing evolve on it's
> own.

It is and fast.  Uptake of X3D for dedicated applications is very fast.
You have to face up to a fact of this level of sophistication:  the
money made developing the core technology is essentially zero.  Give
that away or make applications.  That is where the VRML market made a
mad dash into hell:  they tried to make money on the core browsers.  It
just doesn't work.  IE is free.  Firefox is free. Cluetrain.

>5 years or so I remember there were a ton of these little virtual
community type ventures using VRML.. nothing much
> really happened with them. Lately it seems that they're starting to
crop up again.

Ummm... Have you ever looked at Jewel of Indra?  The problem is that a
lot of the professional X3D/VRML is behind firewalls.  It is expensive
content and no smart owner exposes that to an ethic of rampant thievery.
There are very good reasons to build for a membership and not the
general public. 

>There.com, this thing, and there have a been a few others I've heard
about.. activeworlds or something.

ActiveWorlds is old news and probably off the radar.  One thing I keep
noticing is how many exporters there are now and support in open source
editors like Blender.  X3D uptake is healthy.  See


I think lots of applications are better than one big virtual world.
You're falling victim to the hype snipe.  (If it ain't big in the press,
it ain't big).  People go broke doing that.   Companies like Sun are
killing themselves chasing the elusive 'big scores' in software while
having to give away too much IP.  Stockholders get cranky about that.

>I don't think the open ended virtual community stuff (as opposed to
something with a "purpose" like Everquest) is going 
>to really take off until we can really "jack-in"

Relative to scale.  Virtual community stuff is fun, but there are other
applications that are a lot more important to the current customers.  I
can't get into that too deeply.

>The idea has merit, and it WILL succeed one day, but I hope this isn't
wholly sponsored by some commercial entity, but
> ends up being more like a 3d web (like vrml was supposed to do,

That won't happen until real time 3D is something Microsoft understands.
It isn't an easy concept to grasp and the web is really a pretty lousy
platform for real time applications.  Protocol latency is still a bear.
OTOH, some exciting stuff is going on in the Croquet project.  X3D has
to be a standard used in different applications, so like HTML, it tends
to be weak in some of them (where rich clients thrive).

>For people that as been frezzed on ice the last 5 yeas, yes.. Second
Life whas sucesfull.

And closed and proprietary.  Not a really good deal for the content
authors and not a particularly scalable or repurposable system.
Actually, Google Earth is doing more for 3D.   Again, real time 3D and
static 3D are very different critters.  Still, I am a fan of Second
Life.  IMO, 3D is always good, but the requirements I deal with require
open real time 3D with guarantee royalty-free standards.  For that,
there is only one game in town: X3D.

>To some people VRML seems something of the past:

VRML is.  X3D isn't.  Still, there is a lot of work to be done getting
the protocols into place so this stuff is easy, scalable and don't
require one to be on proprietary server farms.

>VRML need to take off really fast and kick really hard to win to World
of Warcraft + Second Life.

I wouldn't want to compete there.  There are better niches.

>Its not like that niches are big enough so I dont think the VRML plugin
with X3D support will be widen support for

For the average web surfer, maybe not.  Scene graph technology and games
aren't that good a match; OTOH, Joe Average Web Page builder isn't
building WOW.  They might build inside Second Life, but that is not On
The Web.  It is hidden inside it nestled in the Linden server farms.

>If you make a Golf game that render landscapes, your HTML render will
support 100% of browser, no plugin needed, with 
>Flash will be 9X% but VRML will be like 00.X%

That simply isn't true.  This is another "Let's beat on what we don't
use" bit of FUD.  You might be surprised to see some of the apps I've
seen using X3D.  You should troll the BitManagement or Blaxxun site or
even ParallelGraphics.  BitManagement does very well.

> See? HTML win again.

Nope.  HTML can't come close to what is needed for real time 3D.  Never
will.  HTML is for lowest-common denominator text-based hypermedia.  It
thrives on being easy to remember and in making the hard doable with
lots of effort.  The kind of design thinking one does for real time 3D
is very different.  Ever see a proximity sensor in HTML?  No. Why?  What
would you use that for?  Ever build an avatar in HTML that has a
built-in interpreter for situation-based behavior?  No.  What would you
do with that?

Horses for courses.  Real time systems are the next frontier in spatial
and geo-spatial web applications.  Their intersection is with the
semantic web, and the traditional web is just content they can host.
But put real time 3D and semantic web (in my thinking, semantic tensors)
together and you have something revolutionary:  sentient computing in a
fusion environment.  This is five years away from becoming mainstream,
yes, but no one surfs behind a wave.  What Second Live and WoW have done
is prepare the ground.  To make this real, open standards are a must for
the same reasons they are for HTML:  not the ease of it because this
won't be easy, and therefore, not everyone will do it, but because the
lifecycle costs of the content are such that no one can afford it if the
browser dies when the company dies.  If VRML taught us anything, it
taught us that and for that reason, was a big success.



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